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Welcome to my story blog. I will post one new story here every day. You are welcome to comment on any or all of them. Enjoy!
                   --Lee Pound

Day 4 - Planning Ahead

“It’ll be the most perfect wedding ever!”

Melanie grasped her maid of honor’s hands and grinned. “Isn’t it just wonderful? I’ve thought of everything, just everything!”

Annie, the bridesmaid, flashed a big grin back. “Let’s see. The cake, the ring, the church, the minister, the guests, dinner, reception, gifts, relatives, dress.” She counted on her fingers. “Yes! We’ve got it all. Let’s get out of here. You need some sleep tonight.”

Melanie took one last glance at the reception hall, filled with flowers, white tablecloths, and silver tableware. She imagined the crowd of guests filing in, sitting, eating, cheering the bride, listening to toasts. What a party we’ll have, she thought.

She rose early the next morning. Annie and three bridesmaids arrived at 7 a.m. to start dressing her. They had rollicking good fun, getting the formal costumes on just right, adjusting every bow and crease to perfection. “I can’t wait,” Melanie said. A vision of the church filled with guests, the minister standing by the altar, waiting for her to come down the aisle, the guests rising, the music starting….

“Let’s get going,” Annie said. “The limo’s here.”

The ride to the church was filled with chatter. Melanie heard most of it but remembered little. Her mind was on the event to come, the event she’d thought about for years. And it’s going to be just perfect.

The limo stopped. The driver opened the doors and Melanie stepped onto the sidewalk. Her wedding coordinator ran up to her. “Come on, we’ve got to get you tidied up and ready to go. You’ve got half an hour.”

The coordinator hustled her directly to the bride’s room, where she would make last minute adjustments, finish off the makeup, and proclaim Melanie ready. The clock ticked down toward 11 a.m., the moment she would start her walk down the aisle.

Melanie heard a soft knock on the door. The wedding coordinator opened it a crack and listened to a whispered voice, not quite understandable from that distance.

“We have to wait just a few minutes,” the coordinator said.

“Why?”

“Just give me a few minutes. Wait here.” The coordinator walked to the door and stepped outside.

Melanie took two steps toward the door, and then hesitated. No, she thought, I can’t go out there before the music starts. They can’t see me before the exact right instant.

A few minutes later, the door opened. The wedding coordinator trotted in, pulling Melanie’s father after her.

“Dad? What are you doing here?”

“When was the last time you saw Morton?”

Her fiance? “Uh, was it… ? Uh, yesterday, I think. We’ve been so busy.”

“He’s not here.”

Melanie stared at her father, and then squeezed her eyes shut. She opened them wide. “What do you mean he’s not here?!” She thought back to the day before. It had been so busy and Morton wanted to talk with her. Now she remembered. “Not now,” she’d told him. “Can’t talk right now.” She planned to catch him later but they had all been so busy.

And now? “We don’t know where he is,” her father said. “We checked his apartment. Nobody home. Nobody answers his phone.”

Melanie had a fleeting thought. No, can’t be. “Where’s my cell,” she asked.

Annie rustled through her purse. “I grabbed it this morning. You haven’t turned it on since we left for the reception hall yesterday.”

Melanie grabbed it and turned it on. There was one message. Morton’s number. “Excuse me,” she said in a soft voice. With shaking fingers, she dialed voice mail.

Then she heard Morton’s voice. “You wouldn’t talk to me today and I can’t seem to get hold of you. You’re just too busy. So here goes. We were so happy, that first year. I loved you and I still love you. But after we decided to get married, something happpened. I don’t know what. You seemed more distant, more caught up in the planning, and it seemed like you forgot about us. I’d never seen this side of you before. I tried to discuss it and you wouldn’t listen. The planning was more important. Then yesterday, when you shut me down because getting your table settings right was more important than talking with your future husband, I decided I just didn’t like the woman I was seeing here, so caught up in the moment that you forgot about those closest to you. You never once called me, I never saw you call anyone by their name. It was always Dad or the minister or the wedding coordinator, like they were chess pieces. I can’t go through with this. Not now. I still love the woman I met, that girl who was so much fun to be with. Where did she go? I can’t marry what you’ve become. I hope you’ll forgive me.”

She set the phone down. “He’s not coming,” she said in a quiet voice, her back still turned to the attendants and her father. “Please. Leave me alone for a moment.”

After the door closed behind her, she stared at the phone.

Everything was so perfect. She’d thought of every detail, planned for every contingency.

Except one.

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